Blog Archives

Video Book Review – Brand Against The Machine by John Morgan

No joke – this is an amazing book! I took nearly 5,000 words’ worth of notes on it and could have easily just transcribed the entire thing. It’s that good! Reminds me a lot of The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk, but with apologies to Gary V I think this book is even better!

Why the consumer-business relationship has changed forever, and what it means for all of us

This is probably the most important video Gary Vaynerchuk has ever made, and coming from a self-professed GaryVee fanboy like me, that’s saying something! ;)

Gary’s brilliant book Thank You Economy nailed this trend back when he wrote it in late 2010/early 2011, but this video crystalizes how important customer service will be in 2012 and beyond thanks to Social Media. Watch:

Exclusive Video: Bestselling Author David Meerman Scott talks Newsjacking Book

USA Today and Wall St. Journal Bestselling Author David Meerman Scott was gracious enough to join one of our PR/JOUR Google+ Hangouts to talk about his new e-book, Newsjacking. It’s an often fascinating, sometimes controversial and always fun topic for journalists and PR pros alike to consider. Grab the book – which is a fast, breezy read – on your Kindle or iPad and then watch our interview below to hear more about what could be the big PR/Marketing trend of 2012.


How to use real-time social media savvy to land your dream job in the NBA

Philadelphia 76ers fan Jerry Rizzo used Social Media to land a dream job in the NBA!

Mashable has an awesome story of how a 23-year-old fan named Jerry Rizzo of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers leveraged social media to essentially do the team’s job for it online, a move that caught the attention of the 76ers’ CEO and landed the 23-year-old Rizzo his “dream job” working for the team.

Memo to anyone wanting to land a new gig and stand out from the crowd: In 2011, you need to create a real-time resume that showcases your skills. That means your Blog, Twitter feed and everything else are in play when it comes to impressing potential employers.

Even though he was only doing it for fun and out of passion for the team he loved, Rizzo’s unsolicited and savvy use social media on behalf of the 76ers caught the eye of the team’s CEO, Adam Aron, who offered him a job with the team as a result. Said Aron:

“Jerry impressed us not just with his clever Twitter campaign, but he had also created a website that was just loaded with content that demonstrated his creativity and drive and that he is a good writer and knowledgeable about social media,” Aron said. “He did online what people have done in job-searching efforts for decades — put his best foot forward and demonstrated what he can bring to an employer.”

Gary Vaynerchuck said this a few years back, but it rings true in 2011 more than ever – now IS the time to cash in on your passion. And the best way to do that is to use real-time tools like your Blog to show potential employers/clients what you bring to the table, and how you can specifically help them reach their goals.

Congrats to Jerry Rizzo for doing exactly that. What a great story!

Video: Secrets to Social Media Success

I’ve become so fanatical about using Social Media and integrating it into everything I do – especially PR! – that people at work have given me the moniker, “The Self Proclaimed King of Social Media.”

And it’s working! Lately I have been getting asked at least once a week to present to various groups on my Social Media strategies due to the massive success we’re having with it. (Especially in the Labor Union world, which is where my day job resides.) FYI this presentation was made using Prezi – completely free and something you can do entirely online.

In the video below, I spend 40 minutes sharing every trick, tip and tactic I’ve learned the past few years when it comes to using Social Media to engage clients/customers, impact a situation/negotiations, drive mainstream media coverage and shape public opinion. The situations that happened to me during the largest nursing strike in U.S. history last summer also provide great “real-life” examples/case studies for why the tactics I’ve learned at the feet of masters like this guy and this guy work so well.

It’s long, but I promise worth your time to watch.

Question: Anything important I left out? What would you add to the presentation?

What every business/brand ought to know about Social Media in 2011

Do you really understand just how powerful consumers are in 2011?

Best-selling PR and Marketing author/blogger David Meerman Scott recently penned a post that called out some serious marketing hypocrisy by a famous Washington, D.C., hotel.

What I want to focus on is how this post should remind all of us:

  1. How much more power you and I have today as consumers.
  2. Why businesses/brands cannot afford to ignore engaging with us – in real-time – using Social Media.

Think about this:

  • In 1981, David could have shared his negative experience with some friends over dinner.
  • In 2001, he could have sent out a group e-mail to some friends and supporters.
  • In 2011, he Blogs/Tweets/Google+/Facebooks/YouTubes and potentially reaches millions of people around the world (at least some of whom might be contemplating where to stay on their upcoming trip to Washington, D.C.) in real-time. David’s post lives on forever, and (depending on how often it is shared online) could end up near the top of the Google Search rankings for this hotel.

Even though David’s complaint is more about marketing hypocrisy than poor customer service, the point is the same: Brands and companies have NO CHOICE but to monitor and engage with consumers using Social Media in real-time.

To ignore or delay your response to a post like David’s puts the long-term financial well-being of your product or service at risk.

There are new rules in play. Small town rules. Ignore them at your own risk!

Social Media and Selling: Why Context (not Content!) has become King

I love Gary Vaynerchuk’s take (below) on what lies ahead as Google+ and Facebook step up their efforts to win our Social Media minds and hearts. To quote Gary, “The more we create context, the more our wallet is going to be decided based on our friends.”

I should also say Gary’s take on “Context is King” reminds me of Socialnomics by Erik Qualman – Erik was saying this way back in 2008 about how our friends were going to dictate to us what we read, watch and buy thanks to Social Media. Prophetic!

So, is your brand/agency ready for this? Because it’s not just about creating great content anymore. It’s about figuring out how to give your content the Social Media context it needs to spread virally and impact consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Here’s Gary’s (always entertaining) take:

The time in 2006 when I thought Derek Webb had gone insane, got thrown in jail or both

When I saw this, I thought Derek Webb had gone bonkers!

I’ll never forget when I first heard of the URL I thought my favorite controversial Christian musician had finally pushed the Modern Day Pharisees (MDP) too far and gotten himself locked up. I imagined the MDPs could take it no more thanks to songs like this, and had managed to throw Derek into some sort of prison where Christian dissidents like Don Miller and John Eldredge would also be held. As such, I figured the “Free Derek Webb” URL was designed to call attention to his plight.

Of course, that was not the case. But when I learned the true reason for the URL, I still thought Webb had gone crazy. I mean, this was 2006. Sites like NoiseTrade didn’t exist. Musicians didn’t just give away brand new studio albums for free.

But Derek Webb was doing exactly that! What a nut job.

As a huge fan of his, I was delighted to take advantage of Derek’s mental state and snag a free digital copy of his latest release. And of course (this is where Derek Webb proves he’s not insane) I ran out and became a brand evangelist, e-mailing (Facebook and Twitter weren’t mainstream then – remember, this was 2006!) all my friends and telling them about this amazing deal.

A few other people must have, too, because more than 80,000 people downloaded the free album.

I’m sure many were already fans like myself, but think of how many more thousands of people discovered Derek Webb’s music for the first time as a result.

Sure, he missed out on some easy/fast money by giving away 80,000 copies of “Mockingbird,” but he got great publicity/market exposure, and (more important) he did something Gary Vaynerchuk preaches all the time – Derek Webb began building lifetime customer value.

If you downloaded “Mockingbird” for free in 2006, and fell in love with this new musician Derek Webb, I’m betting you bought at least 1 or 2 of his other albums at some point in the future. Derek gave up a huge chunk of money in the short term, but over the long term he gained (potentially) tens of thousands of new fans, and (most important) made them fans for life.

UPDATE: Derek just posted a response on Twitter about this whole episode and its impact on his career:

And with Webb’s current fans like me, a free album download just endeared him all the more to us, and also jacked us up even more than usual to be his brand evangelists, telling everyone how great he was and why they should download his free album.

As great a musician as Derek Webb is, I think he’s an even better marketer. He proved all the way back in 2006 that he understood the power of Social Media and “Word of Mouse” before such a thing even existed. He does an amazing job in 2011 using sites like Twitter to connect with his fans in meaningful and lasting ways. And he constantly pushes the envelope for what’s coming next with sites like NoiseTrade, which people like me use all the time to download free music from new artists. And, funny, if I really like an artist I find for free on NoiseTrade, I always end up going back and buying more of his or her songs because I like the music so much.

Glad to know Derek Webb is not insane or in Christian jail. The music (and PR/Marketing) world would be  much less exciting without him.

The Thank You Economy vs. The F-You Economy

I recently got a letter from Ameriprise Auto & Home Insurance that, to my understanding, essentially said my wife and I that we were no longer good for business, and that if we had to file another claim the company was going to dump us.

Of course, the only reason we were even notified, the company explained in the letter, was that state law requires them to tell a customer about something like this ahead of time.

So I’m a lame (insurance) duck. One more claim, and goodbye. Over the past year we’d had a couple of small auto claims and a personal property (wedding ring repair) claim, and I guess enough was enough for Ameriprise.

What irks me is that after years of faithfully pumping our hard-earned money into that company’s coffers and never missing a payment, I am reminded that loyalty means nothing when I actually have to use the auto/home insurance I’m paying for.

All those flowery marketing materials they send us are crap.

So why do companies like Ameriprise Auto & Home Insurance keep pretending? Why do they insult their customers like this?

And why do health insurance companies continue to waste millions on billboards and feel-good commercials and marketing campaigns when the reality is you’re only a “good” customer for them if you never need to use their product?

The dissonance here bothers me. In a Thank You Economy, I want to feel valued/important as a customer. I want to feel like the company I give my business to has my back. That they (to quote this guy) actually give a crap about me.

What I don’t want is a “Dear John” Letter that says, “We’ll be happy to keep taking your money every month, but if you actually need us in a pinch, we’re going to dump you as fast as possible.”

That’s what I call operating in The F-You Economy.

I get that insurance companies don’t make a profit if customers are constantly filing expensive claims. Fine. But do us all a favor. Market yourselves honestly. Tell customers the truth up front about how this deal will work.

To do otherwise is to insult us, deceive us and construct a false relationship. I’m no expert, but to me that doesn’t sound like a sound way to run your business.

Shock and Awe: Why this type of customer service is going to be the norm sooner rather than later

Gary Vaynerchuk nails it yet again by citing another recent example of The Thank You Economy in action. I love how he compares what we are seeing now in this example with Morton’s to the concept of Free Shipping in the late 1990s vs. 2011.


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